Alcatel Alenia Space, #1 in Europe for satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures has been interested
in the development of a new material to produce lightweight, stiff, stable and cost-effective structures and mirrors for
space instrument. Cesic® from ECM has been selected for its intrinsic properties (high specific modulus, high thermal
conductivity, quite low thermal expansion coefficient and high fracture toughness for a ceramic material), added to
flexible manufacturing capabilities.
Under ESA contract, a flight representative optical bench of Cesic® has been designed, manufactured and tested. The
optical bench has been submitted with success to intensive vibration tests up to 80 g on a shaker without problem and
was tested down to 30 K showing very high stability.
Cesic® is also envisaged for large and lightweight space telescope mirrors. Optical coatings for Cesic® substrates have
been developed and qualified for the most stringent optical conditions. To prove the lightweight capability, a large Cesic® mirror D=950 mm with an areal density of less than 25 kg/m2 has
been designed, sufficiently strong to withstand launch loads and meet stringent WFE requirements, and then
Cesic® is also envisaged for large future focal planes holding a large number of detectors assuring high stability thanks
to its high thermal conductivity. A full size Cesic® focal plane has been already successfully built and tested.
Based on these successful results, Alcatel Alenia Space is now in position to propose for space projects this technology
mastered in common with ECM both for mirrors and structures with new innovative concepts thanks to the
manufacturing capabilities of this technology.